Relative of convict reports recruitment of prisoners for Ukraine War in Russian penal colony

Representatives of private military company Wagner have visited Yekaterinburg’s penal colony 10 to recruit prisoners for the war in Ukraine; there are plans to send them there at the end of October, Mediazona reports, citing a relative of one of the inmates.

According to her, representatives of the Wagner Group were there on 12 October. “Afterwards, a big number of inmates filed compulsory applications for mobilisation,” she claims.

The woman says that her relative and other recruited prisoners were sent to separate barracks on 12 October, they will be subsequently sent to war.

“The last time I had contact with [my relative] was on 11 October, they already knew that someone was coming from PMC; he warned me that he would probably [not be able to contact me anymore], and he was right,” she pointed out. “No connection with him at all. When I call the colony, they scream that they know nothing and won’t let anyone in. They don’t [allow to book] visits, they turn phones off. Inmates themselves are scared to say that this is recruitment.”

According to the woman, two dates of convicts’ departure are known for now: 25 October from penal colony 10 and 25-26 October from penal colony 54 of the Yekaterinburg region. In total, about 300 people were recruited, she claims.

Mediazona has studied the audio messages of an inmate from penal colony 54. He says that separate barracks were freed up for the recruits; about 30 people are there currently.

Last week, Russian senators Andrey Klishas and Olga Kovitidi drafted a bill on pardoning convicts for participating in hostilities. The bill applies to people who committed crimes of small and medium gravity.

In September, a video, in which a man resembling the alleged head of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, recruits prisoners of a Russian penal colony for the war in Ukraine, appeared online. At the beginning of August, Mediazona reported, citing the convicts the outlet talked to, that Yevgeny Prigozhin had personally visited several penal colonies to recruit prisoners for the war. In August, the Verstka outlet reported that PMC Wagner had recruited over 1,000 convicts from 17 Russian colonies for the war in Ukraine.

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